Fremantle fireworks: alternative Australia Day citizenship ceremony blocked

Picture: File image.
Picture: File image.

The City of Fremantle will not be allowed to hold its Australian Citizenship ceremony on January 28 after the Federal Government raised objections.

Last month the City pushed its Australia Day fireworks celebration back two days because the January 26 date is deemed as insensitive toward Indigenous Australians.

Now Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has told ABC radio the Government could not allow the ceremony to go ahead, because it sent a message that was anti-Australia Day.

He said the Government had put a number of alternatives to the council, and was hopeful an agreement could be reached.

MORE: Fremantle announces event to replace Australia Day

“Citizenship has got to be apolitical, noncommercial, bipartisan and secular,” Hawke told ABC radio on Monday.

“It’s really important … we’ve got hundreds of councils administering this around the country … that they don’t get the idea they can use citizenship as a political football.

“We’re very dark on that.”

Mr Hawke said the federal government working with the council to get a resolution on the impasse.

“We’re being reasonable,” he said.

“We don’t want this to escalate into a major political situation and would prefer that they did take up the commonwealth on one of the offers.”

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is expected to comment later on Monday.